Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) sounds like a grand private equity investment company. Unfortunately, this UK-based company is far from grand given that they are a majority owner in a care company in Finland called Esperi. They have won many contracts from local authorities to care for some 8000 elderly pensioners. The care they are giving residents in some of their care homes has been described by staff, residents and families as scandalous.
The Finnish national care regulator has now been obliged to intervene and stop the abuses that have been continuing for some time in one care homes. It also appears from new media reports that many other of their care homes have also failed in the same manner. Dozens of new reports about Esperi’s serious failures have now been made to the national regulator.
Care homes for the elderly appear to be targets for ruthless groups like ICG and others – residents’ complaints can be ignored because they fear reprisals. Your correspondent has seen that complaints against other similar companies by residents, staff and family members are routinely ignored. The municipalities can wash their hands by saying that the companies are responsible for care quality and seldom if ever want to intervene. It is complex to break contracts with these big investors who employ expensive lawyers when complaints are made.
It is reported in the press that the above-mentioned care home case was ignored for months before action was taken. The person responsible at the municipality had visited the home and saw that everything was fine! Was this civil servant sacked or does he continue with his cushy job?
The intervention by the regulator brought serious charges against Esperi for employing too few trained staff and to many untrained staff, for not handling patient medicine correctly, and for not helping bed-ridden patients receive correct care. There are also reports above a patient death due to negligence.
This statement is from CGI’s own website is far from the truth:
We pride ourselves on being straightforward and conducting ourselves with integrity in everything we do. Our reputation is paramount and we treat our investors’ challenges with the same care and responsibility that we apply to our own business. We are thoughtful, respectful, conservative and self-critical. When we make mistakes or experience difficulties, we recognise them, learn from them and improve the way we work. Our ability to challenge, change and be transparent provides for a strong culture of continuous enhancement.
The prime Minister has professed his concern at such business activities – but he would. His Center Party, together with the Conservative Party, have been prime movers in privatizing care activities to private sector companies. He must have known that serious failures were occurring because there have been many media reports exposing systematic failures in these privately-owned care homes. The government has spent 4 years promising future improvements in healthcare and in care of the young and elderly with great new reforms, but they have ignored their present obligations and now blame the municipal system that they themselves control!
The biggest Finnish pension insurance company, Ilmarinen, is also a shareholder in Esperi. They have also reacted after the reports. It appears that they never wanted to find out what was going on with their investments. They have a duty to act responsibly but cheating demented and infirm pensioners is certainly not in their investment guidelines although they appear to allow such disgraceful behavior by default.
With many new private healthcare companies jumping on the privatization bandwagon that the healthcare “reform” is pushing is a clear prescription for wholesale cheating of taxpayers based on present performance from our current politicians.
Photo: Esperi website